Here is my last post on how I budget, meal plan and grocery shop and now prep. This step can be the most time consuming, but if you are organized, you can do it right and still have the rest of your day.
1. Pick a day to prep: My day is usually Saturday or Sunday b/c those are the days of the week I am most likely to be home and have at least 2 hours.
2. Look at your menu for the up-coming week and decide what you can make ahead of time that won't spoil and will still taste the same =)
3. Block off time - you may not know how long it will take you the first go-round. I usually plan on 2 hours or less. And this can be intermittent. I personally like to knock it all out at once, but that doesn't always work for people.
4. Multitask - Look at your meals...can you pre-cook your pasta for a dish? Can you slice up green peppers for salads for the coming week while the pasta is cooking? What can be done in the oven?
5. Package and prepare - put meals or food in containers that are easy to grab for lunches or on the go leftovers.
Tips: I love to make an easy breakfast for Nathan to have for Liam for the week. Part of my meal prep involves making a bunch of pancakes and egg and spinach muffin bites.
I also make sweet potato fries because we will inevitably have burgers and fries sometime through the week so I don't have to wait on fries when that time comes.
Most of my prepping involves slicing vegetables and there is almost always something in the oven. Another great idea is if you can make a crockpot meal for the week. It can sit all day, then be put in containers for the week ahead and you have just cut down on your meal prep. This definitely doesn't happen every week for me. If I have a free hour on a Tuesday, I may do pancakes then or Paleo dessert balls. I love looking around our house and creating a new dish. Just this week, I had frozen chicken breasts and pesto sauce so I cooked it up with some gluten free noodles and 1 yellow and 1 green pepper. Perfect lunch on the go or dinner if we've been out and running around. It's all about trial and error and spending a short amount of time that will save you tons later! It took me about 3-4 months to get my system really perfected where I felt like I still had most of my day to relax. Don't give up and get your spouse to help! It can be a family event!
Good luck! What tips do you have on meal prep?